Former ESPN host and Fox Sports 1 commentator Jason Whitlock slammed the sports media for its drift toward left-wing politics, criticized former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his faux anti-American protests, and even stuck up for Breitbart Sports.
In a new interview with Michael McCarthy of Sporting News, Whitlock pokes his finger in the eyes of presumptuous sports reporters who think they speak for African Americans, slaps around a few major sports stars, and dishes about his treatment at ESPN.
Long a lightning rod for his take-no-prisoners views, Whitlock has a long history in sports media. He’s been a columnist for the Kansas City Star, a star commentator for ESPN, a radio talk show host, a writer for Huffington Post, the central figure of a popular sports website, and a Fox Sports contributor. He was also on the other side of the sports-media divide, having been an offensive lineman for Ball State University’s Cardinals football program.
The interview started off with Whitlock criticizing NBA star LeBron James for essentially sitting out games after partying too hard the night before, but the interview then jumped straight to Whitlock’s criticism of the leftward lurch of sports media. The topic kicked off as Whitlock slammed former San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his season of clueless anti-American protests.
Even as he doubted that politics had kept Kaepernick from landing a new team as a free agent — Whitlock said Kaepernick is “delusional about his standing in the league” — the sports writer called the quarterback’s protests ill informed and muddled.
“Kap is running around with Twitter idiots who love to play the race card,” Whitlock said. “No general manager or coach wants [black lives activist] Shaun King second-guessing them in the New York Daily News about a one-win quarterback who is trying to prove his blackness through public gestures.”
Whitlock went on to urge Kaepernick to “get new friends,” and stop hanging around with people coddling him over his ill-advised protests.
The sports firebrand also noted that he is one of the few who has the spine to point out that Kaepernick is likely dealing with a personal identity crisis due to his upbringing, too. Whitlock said, “I’ve angered the far left by pointing out that Kap has some understandable identity issues based on his unique upbringing and a society that is brutally harsh on mixed-race people. Kap is not a thought leader on race or even informed about the issues. He was a guy who liked to kick it, lift weights and be a celebrity quarterback. The Niners benched him and he became a militant activist, which made him attractive to the far-left movement.”
That brought the conversation to the left-ward tilt of the media, something Whitlock has criticized.
Sporting News asked Whitlock if liberals are trying to “kill the golden goose” by corrupting sports coverage with left-wing politics. Whitlock was adamant that liberals really are ruining sports media with political content.
“Far-left political ideologues want to reshape sports culture to their liking,” Whitlock said. “Sports culture has long had a major impact on American culture. The values taught and celebrated in sports are conservative. The far left wants to change that. They want sports to have a liberal impact.”
The interviewer then asked about the charges made by Breitbart Sports that ESPN is too liberal. Sporting News labeled Breitbart Sports as an “Alt-Right” site trying to stir attacks against ESPN, but Whitlock shot that down, saying, “I think it’s unfair to pin this on the ‘alt-right media.’ ESPN and most of the mainstream media have lurched farther left. That’s a complaint from middle America and, in my opinion, objective America. ESPN’s own ombudsman acknowledged ESPN’s hardcore progressive slant.”
Of course, Whitlock is referring to the piece written by ESPN Ombudsman Jim Brady last year exploring whether or not the network has drifted too far to the left. But, even as he spent several thousand words reviewing the claim, Brady ended up insisting that the network had not gone too far left. Despite Brady’s pronouncement, this year ESPN issued new guidelines in an effort to put a dampener on its on-air talent’s penchant for spouting off on liberal political topics.
Speaking of ESPN’s new on-air guidelines, Whitlock sees the new rules as “confusing.”
Before wrapping up, among the other topics in the interview, Whitlock criticized college player Lonzo Ball’s outspoken and activist father, saying the man has “emasculated” his son with all his public shenanigans.
Whitlock said LaVar Ball is “hurting” his sons’ basketball careers. “He’s making their careers about him rather than about them,” Whitlock continued. “LaVar is doing way too much. I hope he re-evaluates his role.”
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